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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014

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Burger salad night: Cheaper, healthier and just as good as going out for grub.
Burger salad night: Cheaper, healthier and just as good as going out for grub.
Family meal time is important to every member of the household.
Family meal time is important to every member of the household.

Give "Dining-at-home" Month a try

For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."

All this talk of food during's Dining Month has me fantasizing about my favorite places to go OUT to eat: Silver Spring House in Glendale for their chicken wings and French onion soup, carnivorous delights from Ward's Downtown, the tempeh reuben from Beans and Barley on the East Side, BBQ ribs from Speed Queen on Walnut Street, my beloved chocolate malt custard from Kopp's, Sunday night Prix Fixe dinner at the Capitol Grill, Mexi and Margs at Botanas on the South Side and Sunday brunch from really anywhere ... the list goes on and on.

But, frequent eating out wreaks havoc on my waistline and makes a major dent in my wallet, so I choose to cook at home, three meals a day (and snacks) most days of the week.

The vision of me cooking in the kitchen on a daily basis is contrary to what a lot of folks think my life is like; so much so, that it often leads to gasps of "YOU doooooo?" when I declare that sitting around the table as a family for at least one a meal a day is priority in our home.

I'm not sure what is so unbelievable about the fact that I plate a meal every night – if it's a personal thing, or a sign-of-the-times cultural thing – but the effort is well worth the rewards. Even if I choose to drown our food in a pound of butter, use conventional pasta or add sweetness with real sugar (none of which I ever really do), I am still far more in control of what goes on our plates than if we dined at a restaurant together.

And physical health benefits aside, our souls are healthier from the time we spend together talking candidly in the comfort and privacy of our home. Our dinner talks often start with "So, honey, how was your day?" and segue to much grittier, …

Larrissa Beckenbaugh and PJ Heffernan from PJ's Yoga Shala.
Larrissa Beckenbaugh and PJ Heffernan from PJ's Yoga Shala.
Shayne Broadwell from Core Essence.
Shayne Broadwell from Core Essence.

Yoga "teacher training" is big business

September was the official National Yoga Month, celebrating the Eastern tradition that the West and the rest of the world has enthusiastically embraced for its fitness, health and spiritual benefits.

Yoga "teachers" do not need to be certified, credentialed or attend any special "training" to instruct yoga. This may come as a surprise even to yoga teachers, who, when looking for a job, may be faced with the stipulation of "must be an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) through the Yoga Alliance." Often, these studios looking for teachers are "RYS – Registered Yoga Schools" through the Yoga Alliance.

So, eager yoga students passionate about their practice and wanting to progress to teaching are almost forced to take (expensive) "teacher trainings" to qualify to be "certified" as a yoga teacher. They then have to register with the Yoga Alliance, paying a fee to maintain their "RYT" teacher status.

And the Yoga Alliance (a non-profit organization) is doing pretty well because of it, as their website financials state: "Yoga Alliance and YA+ have released their 2011 financials by posting them on this website. The combined organizations reported revenue of approximately $3.25 million in 2011, which represents a 37-percent increase over the $2.37 million generated in 2010. They also ended the year with a surplus of $78,806, which was down from $364,188 in 2010."

Wow. Looks like yoga is one of the only businesses thriving in this economy. (Yoga as a business. This, in and of itself, gets some yogis' mats all up in a bunch.)

On the other hand, how many yoga teachers do you know whose "revenue is up in the last year"? Yoga teachers are typically paid per class, from my experience, starting around $25 per class. This fluctuates where you are in the country, at gyms versus yoga studios and by the teacher's experience. Some studios pay per student in class (again, from my experience) around $5 per student.

Private yoga sessions can be anywhere from $35-$150 per session – again…